On a cold Wednesday night in November, Armstrong Student Center was bustling with girls wearing “Rock On Omicron” shirts and groups of singers in heels and jeans. Students only had to pay $5 for entry to Wilks Theater for a night of music and philanthropy.
Alpha Omicron Pi (AOPi) sorority hosted their fourth annual Rock On Omicron a capella concert to benefit the Arthritis Foundation on Wednesday, Nov.14. The event featured five Miami a capella groups, a spunky MC and two personal stories from those impacted by arthritis.
Just Duet opened the show with three numbers, ranging from emotional ballads to upbeat pop songs, and set the tone for Open Fifth, Treblemakers, Soul2Soul and Mitsfitz to follow. Each a capella group performed three numbers and filled the room with soulful singing and an energetic beatboxer.
The groups were varied — some featured only males, some only women — but every group filled the theater with vibrant music, and each song captivated the audience.
The event wasn’t just about singing. It was also about the Arthritis Foundation, which is the national philanthropy that AOPi members work with.
“All of the proceeds go to the Arthritis Foundation, but juvenile arthritis is really our big focus,” said Adrianne Miller, philanthropy chair for AOPi. “Every proceed for this event goes to the foundation. We don’t really pay for anything but the space.”
In between the musical performances, AOPi’s MC invited Katherine and Kimberly Herman to the stage. Katherine told the audience a moving story about how she was diagnosed with arthritis during her first year of college. Her symptoms started slow, but by winter, they made her normal routine almost impossible.
“I woke up on Christmas morning and I couldn’t move my right arm,” said Katherine.
Kimberly, Katherine’s mother, grew up in Oxford and attended Miami. She was excited to be back at her alma mater to help share her daughter’s story, and even more excited that students in her hometown were helping others who suffer from the same condition.
The speeches were moving, and seeing Katherine discuss her struggles, the audience members who donated and members of AOPi got to see the difference they’re making by raising money for juvenile arthritis.
“My favorite part of doing this event and our other philanthropy events is seeing the difference we make,” said junior AOPi member Carly Leonard.
At the end of the event, AOPi leaders announced that they raised $1,800 in donations from the event.
“Every year we raise more money,” Miller said. “Last year we raised a little over a $1,000 and now we’re up to $1,800, which is great. It’s about the same event every year, but the awareness around campus helps grow our funds.”
Other events put on by AOPi for their philanthropy include Can You Kick It and Strike Out Arthritis, which are their spring kickball and baseball tournaments.
“Rock on Omicron is a fun evening for everyone, and a good way to showcase the groups on campus and kind of conjoin them with greek life,” Miller said. “It’s always good when a greek organization collaborates with other on-campus organizations.”